7 Effortless Eating Hacks for Summer Weight Loss

Shed pounds without ever having to break a sweat.

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If you’re looking to slim down this summer, you’ve probably been upping your fitness game, but have you changed your eating habits? Your diet plays a huge role in your ability to lose weight and keep it off, and choosing the right foods is important. Certain eats help rev your metabolism, while others can slow it down.

With the help of Kelly Snow, a registered dietician at Grand Strand Medical Center in South Carolina, we rounded up some of the best diet tricks for cutting calories, boosting your metabolism and reaching your summer weight loss goals.

Go for iron

2 / 8 Go for iron

Iron helps your body produce energy and keeps your metabolism at its best. Too little iron may even slow your metabolism down, so Snow recommends eating plenty of iron-rich foods, like black beans, lentils, spinach and raisins. Grains, like barley and oats, are packed with iron, too. Snow recommends choosing whole grains, which digest more slowly than refined grains, don't spike blood sugar levels and help keep you feeling full.

Plan your breakfast

3 / 8 Plan your breakfast

If you're trying to slim your middle, don’t skip breakfast. Several studies suggest a protein-rich breakfast can help tame your appetite, curb overeating and prevent unhealthy snacking throughout the day. Snow recommends loading up on protein, but don't forget other essential food groups—carbohydrates and healthy fats are also wise additions. Eggs, low-fat cheese and peanut butter are great protein options, and a serving of whole fruit or slice of whole grain toast are smart carb selections.

Drink more water

4 / 8 Drink more water

Drinking water may not melt the pounds off, but it can help cut your daily calorie intake. A study of more than 18,000 American adults suggests upping water consumption by 1 percent can reduce daily calorie intake. The study also found that an increase in water can lower consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. "Water may help you feel a little fuller when you're eating, so you end up eating less," says Snow.

Take it easy on the margaritas

5 / 8 Take it easy on the margaritas

A poolside cocktail can be refreshing, but don’t overdo it. "Alcohol can be a source of hidden calories,” says Snow. “When you're thinking about how much you're eating, it’s easy to forget about the drinks you’ve had, and those calories can really add up.”

What you’re sipping also makes a difference. “Long Island Iced Tea and frozen margaritas have the most calories," says Snow. Your best bet is to avoid sugary mixers or spirits, and instead sip a drink made with club soda or seltzer, or served on the rocks. If margs are a must, ask your bartender for a lighter version, made with tequila, club soda and just a splash of lime juice or sour mix.  

Rethink seasonings and condiments

6 / 8 Rethink seasonings and condiments

Sure, grilled chicken and veggies make healthy mealtime options, but if your protein is coated in thick, sugar-laden barbecue sauce, your dinner may not be so friendly to your waistline.

Condiments like ketchup, soy, teriyaki and barbecue sauces are often high in sodium and sugar, which can temporarily increase water retention and bloating. Snow suggests stirring up your own sauces, made with a touch of olive oil, lemon or lime juice and your favorite herbs and spices. Or skip the sauce and sprinkle your lean meats and veggies with fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Fill up on fiber

7 / 8 Fill up on fiber

Fiber-rich foods like beans, chickpeas and lentils can help keep you fuller, longer, according to a series of clinical trials. Without eliminating other (unhealthy) foods, participants decreased their body weight by consuming three-fourths cup of fiber-packed foods each day for six weeks. The theory was that increased satiety helped fight cravings and support weight loss.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages consumption of fruit and vegetable skins to help boost daily fiber intake. Don't stop there though—brown rice, raspberries, air-popped popcorn, carrots, barley, avocados and pears all contain a healthy dose of fiber. 

Swap your snacks

8 / 8 Swap your snacks

Trade in your chips for a small handful of nuts like almonds, cashews or peanuts, which are not only filling, but may also help with weight management. Unlike processed junk, nuts are loaded with nutrients that can help boost brain health and lower bad cholesterol levels.

"Nuts are very good for you because they have a lot of nutrients that your body can use,” says Snow. “The only problem is the calorie level. That's why you need to pay attention to portion sizes.”

Nuts contain between 160 calories and 200 calories per ounce, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, so stick to just a handful. Avoid overeating by measuring out 49 pistachios, 23 almonds, 18 cashews, 14 walnut halves or 19 pecan halves.

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